The third article in our series on finding freelancers and volunteers gives some best practice advice to charities trying to hire people to create content
It takes 50 milliseconds for a user to make a judgement about your website. So creating content that is fresh, exciting, and relevant is crucial to engaging your audience and keeping them coming back for more. The people who tell your story have an important job to do. And sometimes you’ll need to outsource that work.
As we discussed in a previous article, there are pros and cons to hiring a freelancer. But being able to buy expertise that you don’t have within your existing team, especially when it comes to bringing in creativity and a fresh pair of eyes, is money well spent. Equally, a freelancer can take the pressure off your existing team if they don’t have capacity to take on new content creation.
Content takes many shapes and forms on many different platforms. Here are the main types you might need help with and some examples of the type of content that might be.
Examples of written content include:
Who you need to look for: writer, copywriter, content creator, etc.
Examples of video content include:
Who you need to look for: videographer, filmmaker, animator, documentary maker, etc.
Examples of image content include:
Who you need to look for: photographer, designer, illustrator, etc.
Examples of audio content include:
Who you need to look for: sound editor, audio producer, etc.
When thinking about what specific content you need support with, make sure it fits into your overarching content strategy. If you don’t already have one, take a look at our tips on building an effective digital content strategy.
Then take time to reflect on what you need and write a tight brief. Not only will this be the basis for finding the right freelancer, it will help further down the line when they start working on the project.
Think about what you need (five pages of content? 1,000-word blog? Six photo case studies? – be specific), when you’ll need it by (always factor in some wiggle-room in case timelines slip), and how much you’re able to pay.
Colleagues, networking groups, LinkedIn posts, friends, and neighbours. You never know who can put you in touch with a great freelancer.
Blume and Work for Impact both specialise in matching freelancers with charities. YunoJuno specialises in creatives of all types. These platforms charge for each booking and some provide feedback from freelancers’ previous clients through the site – have a read around.
To avoid paying fees, go direct to freelancers. CharityComms has a freelance directory that includes content creators of all disciplines.
Although a pricier option, a recruiter will take the leg-work out of the recruitment process. Try Charity People for a recruiter that focuses on not-for-profits. Or try creative-specific agencies, such as Major Players or Aquent.
Do-it, Reach Volunteering, or Volunteering Matters will put you in touch with volunteers with the skills that match your requirements. And be aware, that they may need to put any paid work that comes up before your project.
Using your briefing document as a base, shortlist a few freelancers who look like a good match. Have a thorough look through their folios, and then arrange some conversations to sound them out.
If going direct, ask them to quote for the job. Most freelancers charge by the hour/day or per project – so having a thorough and tight brief will help them to quote accurately. It’s usual to give a range as a quote, as it can be hard to predict how long amends or edits will take (for either side).
The well-thought through brief will also, hopefully, minimise any amends needed at the end of the project as the freelancer will know what they’re aiming for and expectations from the get-go. Larger jobs may be quoted per project.
Keep in mind that the cheapest option may not be the best and you may have to weigh up experience against cost. If your first choice is too expensive, it’s worth asking them what they can do within your budget or if their rates are flexible.
Draw up a contract agreeing timings, project deliverables, and costs before the work starts, so you’re both clear on expectations.
To get your best out of your freelancer, it’s worth taking some care. Give them a full brief and time to discuss it. Then make sure they have access to support when they need it and resist the temptation to ask for lots of updates (it can be exciting waiting for new pics to come in!).
Many content creation jobs take concentration, so while regular communication can be helpful, resist the urge to ask for constant updates. All these things will help the project go smoothly and you to end up with quality content that’s on-brief.